BJP Central Election committee meeting for Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram assembly elections
The BJP has reposed faith in most of its sitting lawmakers for the upcoming Chhattisgarh assembly polls and it has given tickets to 14 leaders who lost the last state elections in 2013.
In its first list released on Saturday, 77 candidates were announced out of the total 90 seats in the state. The BJP has given tickets to 32 sitting lawmakers, including 11 serving ministers.
It has denied ticket to only — Ramsheela Sahu, lawmaker from the Durg rural seat.
The two-phase state polls will be held on November 12 and 20.
The first phase of polling will cover 18 seats across eight naxal-affected districts — Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Sukma, Kondagaon, Kanker, Narayanpur and Rajnandgaon.
The remaining 72 constituencies will go to polls in the second phase on November 20.
"The party leadership has tried to give representation to all sections of society by allocating 14 seats to women candidates, 25 seats to youths (below 40 years) and 53 seats to candidates from agriculture background," BJP's state general secretary Santosh Pandey told PTI.
The sitting legislators and leaders, who lost in 2013 polls, have been given tickets in view of their work in respective areas, he said.
When asked if banking on "old faces" may harm the BJP's prospects, Mr Pandey said, "the party has set a target of winning 65 plus seats this time and "we are confident of achieving it."
Chief Minister Raman Singh will contest from his Rajnandgaon seat, while Assembly Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal has been nominated from Kasdol.
The ministers who have been given tickets are — Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur south), Rajesh Munat (Raipur west), Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur), Bhaiyalal Rajwade (Baikunthpur), Ramsevak Paikra (Pratappur), Punnulal Mohle (Mungeli), Kedar Kashyap (Narayanpur), Mahesh Gagda (Bijapur), Prem Prakash Pandey (Bhilai Nagar), Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh) and Ajay Chandrakar (Kurud).
In 2013, then five state ministers, including Nankiram Kanwar, Lata Usendi, who headed the women and child development department, and Chandrashekhar Sahu, who was the agriculture minister, had lost the polls.
Despite losing the election last time, Ms Usendi and Mr Sahu have been nominated from Kondagaon and Abhanpur seats, respectively.
Former home minister Nankiram Kanwar, who lost the previous poll from Rampur, has also been nominated.
State BJP chief Dharamlal Kaushik, the assembly speaker during 2008-2013 term who lost the poll last time from Bilha seat, has been given a ticket.
The other leaders who have been nominated despite losing the previous poll are — Rajni Tripathi (Bhatgaon), Siddhnath Paikra (Samri), Vijaynath Singh Baba (Lundra), Anurag Singhdeo (Ambikapur), Narayan Chandel (Janjgir-Champa), Nande Sahu (Raipur Rural), Komal Janghel (Khairagarh), Bhima Mandavi (Dantewada seat), Dhaniram Barse (Konta) and Krishnamurti Bandhi (Masturi).
Two BJP mayors — Madhusudan Yadav from Rajnandgaon Municipal Corporation and Chandrika Chandrakar from Durg Municipal Corporation — have also been fielded from Dongargaon and Durg city seats respectively, Mr Pandey said.
Kanker Lok Sabha lawmaker Vikram Usendi has been nominated from Antagarh assembly seat again, replacing Bhojraj Nag.
Vikas Mahto, son of BJP leader from Korba Lok Sabha constituency Banshilal Mahto, has been fielded from Korba assembly seat, which is considered a Congress bastion.
Former IAS officer O P Chaudhary, who recently quit as Raipur collector and joined BJP, has been fielded from Kharsia.
BJP has given good representation to Sahus in the first list, by nominating 10 candidates of the OBC community.
Congress has so far announced 12 candidates for seats in the Bastar division.
This time, the tie-up of the Mayawati-led BSP and former chief minister Ajit Jogi's Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) is likely to add another dimension to the state elections.